Drivers’ visual capabilities are assessed upon original licensure, and then again only if they are referred to the Department for reexamination. Renewal drivers do not undergo vision screening. Visual standards for licensing are 20/40 acuity with both eyes and a horizontal temporal field of at least 110 degrees horizontally and 80 degrees vertically from the center. Original applicants and reexamination drivers who have uncorrected visual acuity of less than 20/40 in each eye, but at least 20/60 in one eye and/or a visual field of less than 100 degrees are referred to a vision specialist for examination and an advisory recommendation. The person will also complete a driving evaluation, and may be restricted to driving with outside mirrors or driving during daylight hours. Drivers who do not have a visual acuity of at least 20/60 or better in at least one eye, as assessed by a vision specialist will not be licensed to drive.
Bioptic lenses are approved for daylight driving.
Drivers undergo vision screening each time they renew their license in-person. The renewal cycle is 5 years, and drivers whose license is in good standing may renew by mail every other cycle until they reach age 69. An applicant must meet the following visual standards:
- A person with vision of 20/40 or greater in each eye or both eyes together will receive a license without restrictions in regard to corrective lenses, unless medical or other problems affecting vision exist.
- A person with vision of 20/40 or greater in each eye or both eyes together only with use of corrective lenses will be restricted to driving with corrective lenses.
- A person with the best possible corrections in both eyes together of less than 20/40 but greater than 20/100 will be required to be examined by an optometrist or other eye specialist; if the report states that the person’s vision cannot be improved, all data will be reviewed by the Department; after review, the Department will, in its discretion, issue a license with restrictions which may include driving limitations as to time of day, type of vehicle, specific area, speed, and other limitations considered necessary by the Department.
- A person whose best possible corrections in both eyes together of less than 20/200 will not be licensed.
- A person with vision in only one eye will be licensed if vision in the good eye meets the standards of the department; the department, will, in its discretion, impose restrictions requiring outside rearview mirrors, one mounted on each side of the vehicle, on persons with vision in only one eye.
- A person with color blindness will not be denied a license for that reason.
- A person wearing telescopic or compound lenses whose field of vision is less than 60 percent will not be licensed unless he or she is able to meet the requirements for visual acuity without the aid of the lenses; if field of vision is between 60 percent, and 90 percent, outside rearview mirrors will, in the Department’s discretion, be required.
Arizona issues a lifetime license up to age 65, but applicants must come into a license office every 12 years to apply for a duplicate license, and have their vision rechecked. At age 65, applicants must reapply every 5 years. One way that individuals with vision problems would be brought to the Agency’s attention would be a failure on the vision test. Conventionally corrected visual acuity must be 20/40 in at least one eye. The field of vision must be 70 degrees, plus 35 degrees on the opposite side of the nose, in at least one eye. Applicants who fail the Department-administered vision test must have a vision specialist complete a Vision Examination Report, and return it to the Department. The report must be based on an examination that is not older than three months from the date of submission to the Department. It must include:
- visual acuity and field of vision results;
- whether the person is monocular;
- whether the person has retinitis pigmentosa, diplopia, or impaired night vision;
- diagnosis of any progressively deteriorating eye disease;
- recommendations on frequency of reporting requirements;
- suggested restrictions on driving;
- any recommendations on the person’s functional ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Persons with conventionally corrected vision must wear corrective lenses at all times when driving. Persons diagnosed with impaired night vision are restricted to daytime driving only. Persons with binocular vision and with corrected visual acuity of 20/50 or 20/60 in both eyes together, are restricted to daytime driving only.
The Office of Driver Services performs a vision screening test for acuity and visual fields on all drivers renewing their licenses. A person must have a minimum uncorrected (no glasses or contacts) visual acuity of 20/40 to qualify for an unrestricted driver’s license. A person must have a minimum corrected (with glasses or contacts) visual acuity of 20/50 to qualify for a restricted license (drive with corrective lenses). Drivers with visual acuity of 20/60 are restricted to daytime driving only. A person with two functional eyes must have a field vision of 140 degrees. A person with one functional eye must have a field vision of 105 degrees. Applicants who fail the vision test must go to an ophthalmologist or optometrist for visual correction, and bring a form back to the Office of Driver Services from their vision care specialist stating that their vision has been corrected.
Drivers must also pass a vision test and a written knowledge test upon license renewal if they appear in person to renew. Drivers age 70 and older may not renew by mail, so they must appear in person to renew their licenses every 5 years. The knowledge test is useful for determining the driver’s mental competency, and cognitive and language skills. It can indicate when a person with dementia has deteriorating reading and comprehension skills as well as impaired cognitive and perceptual skills that may impact his or her ability to drive safely. The Department’s visual acuity screening standard is 20/40 or better with both eyes together, and no worse than 20/70 in the poorer eye. Drivers who fail the vision screening are referred to a vision specialist who must examine the driver and complete a Report of Vision Examination. Drivers with visual acuity of 20/200 or worse may not be licensed to drive. Drivers may use bioptic telescopes for driving, but may not use them to meet the vision standard. Following review of the Report of Vision Examination, the driver may be scheduled for a Drive Test or Special Drive Test to determine whether the vision condition impairs the ability to drive or whether the driver can adequately compensate for the vision condition. The Guidelines document provides matrices for visual conditions, definitions, range of severity, whether a driving test or special driving test should be administered for a particular acuity level, and what kinds of restriction could be placed on the license. Restrictions could include corrective lenses, sunrise to sunset driving only, no freeway, area restriction, additional mirrors (right side, wide angle, panoramic, right- or left-fender-mounted mirrors). An immediate revocation may be imposed after an examiner gives a driving test or special driving test to a low-vision driver who has performed dangerously poor and the condition renders the person unsafe to drive.
All original and renewing applicants must take and pass a vision test. To pass the acuity test, applicants must have at least 20/40 in the better eye if the worse eye is worse than 20/200, or must have at least 20/70 in the better eye if the worse eye is better than 20/200.
Drivers are also screened for phoria (double vision), unless they have vision in only one eye. Applicants using bioptic telescopic lenses must attempt to pass the acuity test using only the carrier lens (and not the telescope). Drivers who fail the acuity or the phoria test must have a Confidential Medical/Eye Exam Report (DR 2401) completed by their vision specialist. The vision specialist is required to
complete all sections pertaining to vision, indicate whether authorizing a driving privilege would be medically prudent, and recommend licensing restrictions that should apply. The eye specialist may check off any of the following restrictions, or enter a restriction not on the list: daylight driving only; not more than ___ mph; area radius ___ miles from home; right sideview mirror, or left sideview mirror.
New license applicants must take a vision test, and meet the minimum standards of: 20/40 visual acuity in both eyes or the better eye with or without corrective lenses, and an uninterrupted binocular visual field of at least 140 degrees in the horizontal meridian, or a monocular field of at least 100 degrees in the horizontal meridian, and no evidence of any other visual condition(s) which either alone or in combination would significantly impair driving ability.
Drivers who fail to meet the minimum standards are required to file an Eye Care Professional’s Medical Report, reflecting the results of the doctor’s personal examination within 90 days of the report being filed with the department. A person who has a best corrected visual acuity of worse that 20/40 but at least 20/70, an uninterrupted visual field of not less than 100 degrees in the horizontal meridian, and no other visual conditions that could significantly impair driving ability may be issued a license restricted to daylight only or as otherwise determined by the Commissioner. A person who has best corrected visual acuity better than 20/200 in the better eye, and has an uninterrupted visual field of at least 100 degrees in the horizontal meridian may be issued a license as the Commissioner deems advisable after consideration of factors including driving ability, driving needs, and the recommendations of the person’s ophthalmologist or optometrist. The person may be required to take a road test, and the opinion of the MAB may be requested to determine whether a license should be issued and what restrictions should be imposed. If a driver has a visually related health problem that may affect safe driving ability, he or she will be required to submit a Vision Report for evaluation by the Commissioner.
No license will be issued to a person who has best correct visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye, or has an uninterrupted binocular visual field of less than 100 degrees in the horizontal meridian or an uninterrupted monocular visual field of less than 70 degrees in the horizontal meridian, or has any other visual condition(s) which alone or in combination will significantly impair driving ability. Connecticut does not issue licenses to drivers who use spectacle mounted telescopic aids.